Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - Page 1 News List

CCP charges Bo Xilai, sets date for party congress

FALLEN STAR:The political demise of the once-powerful Bo comes at a delicate time for China, who accused him of multiple crimes despite an upcoming leadership change

Reuters, BEIJING

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accused disgraced politician Bo Xilai (薄熙來) of abusing power, taking huge bribes and other crimes yesterday, sealing the fate of the controversial leader whose fall shook a leadership succession the CCP announced would take place at a congress on Nov. 8.

Bo faces a criminal investigation and will almost certainly end up in jail, and with the CCP congress nearly six weeks away, he might even be tried or indicted before that meeting.

“Bo Xilai’s actions created grave repercussions and did massive harm to the reputation of the party and state, producing an extremely malign effect at home and abroad,” an official statement from a party leaders’ meeting said, according to a report by Xinhua news agency.

Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai (谷開來), and his former police chief Wang Lijun (王立軍) have both already been jailed over the scandal stemming from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, where Bo was CCP secretary.

The official statement carried by Xinhua said that in the murder scandal, Bo “abused his powers of office, committed serious errors and bears a major responsibility.”

Rumors that the party could deal Bo, the “princeling” son of a communist revolutionary leader, a light punishment have now been dealt a fatal blow.

“Party organizations at all levels must use the case of Bo Xilai’s grave disciplinary violations as a negative example,” the statement from the politburo said.

Bo has been expelled from the party as well as the elite decisionmaking Politburo and Central Committee “in view of his errors and culpability in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case involving Bo Gu Kailai.”

Bo Gu is his wife’s official, but rarely used, surname.

Bo’s “grave violations of party discipline” extended back to his time as an official in Dalian and Liaoning, and as minister of commerce, said the statement, carried by Xinhua.

The announcement comes weeks before the CCP holds a congress that will unveil the country’s new central leadership line up.

The 18th Party Congress will start in Beijing on Nov. 8, Xinhua said. Eight is considered a lucky number in China.

Bo, 63, was widely seen as pursuing a powerful spot in the new political line up before his career unraveled after Wang, his former police chief, fled to a US consulate in Chengdu for more than 24 hours in February and alleged that Bo’s wife Gu had poisoned Heywood to death. The statement also said that Bo “had or maintained improper sexual relations with multiple women.”

It also said that the investigation also discovered clues of other, unspecified crimes.

Lai Hongyi (賴洪毅), associate professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, said the party may push to wrap up the Bo trial before the party congress, which was later than expected in part due to continued discussions over the fate of the former Chongqing leader.

“From their point of view, the top leaders probably would be interested in finishing Bo’s case and verdict before the party congress, so it will not become an issue for people to talk about and divert peoples’ attention from the party congress. Objectively, that would be the rationale of the party,” Lai said.

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